Forge your own saga with Beowulf: Age of Heroes

This new Kickstarter campaign from Jon Hodgson and friends seeks to allow players to create their own epic tales. Whilst not a stand-alone game, relying on the Dungeons and Dragons 5e core rules, there appears to be many interesting avenues to explore here. Namely that this is pegged as a duet game – only a games master and hero needed! Coupled with some gorgeous art and high expectations for the layout, this could be a superb product worth checking out.

Dark Age DnD?

Well yes and no.

Whilst utilising the core system presented in that particularly well known roleplaying brand, this reads as a different beast altogether. For one thing, the big appeal for me was the concept of of ‘duet’ play. What is duet play I can imagine you asking as you read this. Yes, two people playing, one the ‘player’ and the other the games master. Growing up I roleplayed a lot with just one other mate. We had loads of fun and if there are additional rules to support it, this could be a big plus.

A setting and period not limited to NW Europe

Given the recent world events, a lot of people have migrated their games online. Despite the apparent increase in time that many thought they’d end up with, a lot of my friends have now more hectic schedules as they juggle work and home schooling. The ability to distil down a game to two players and really explore a character and story sings to me. I’m very much a ‘social’ character, and with the choice of setting I knew I had to get on board.

Bringing the setting to life

I said above about gorgeous art and, although I appreciate it’s subjective, there surely can’t be many that’d argue. With a lot of the team that was involved with the well received One Ring from Cubicle 7, I pledged for the art inspiration alone.

There’s a real quality here which manages to capture the nostalgia I have reading history books illustrated by Angus McBride but with plenty of modern techniques and individual flair. Despite the grit and horror of the period, each images has an inviting warmth. Whether its the believable adventurers or the panoramas begging to be explored, I could happily trawl through time and time again.

Some of whats included in the sample adventure

If you want even more examples (and an adventure to boot!) you can check out the free trial over here at DrivethruRPG. Once I’ve got my head round the contents, I’ll be eager to try it out and report back here on my thoughts.

Miniatures and Trinkets

Now imagine rolling bones on a table like this

As if the book alone wasn’t enough, this being a Kickstarter, there’s got to be more on offer right? As the system utilises new concepts such as ‘inspiration’, you can pick up some exquisite looking metalwork tokens for your table. I’m not normally one for gubbins but these looks like they’d look fantastic on the table. Couple them with some wooden/bone flagons and some authentic beer or mead and many an epic will be created!

Beowulf’s Compass

On top of these the campaign also offers the opportunity to pick up some interesting miniatures. Richard Dickens of Cold War Miniatures has brought the adventurers illustrated to life in 28mm form. These will be of particular use for those that enjoy figures for their roleplaying as well as those like me who enjoy the wargaming aspect of Dark Age combat. Cast in white metal, these are also available to pick up as STL files to print yourself. What a future we live in. I can’t imagine what young me would say if you described campaigns like this when I started out in roleplaying and wargaming!

Nifty miniatures all round

Something for everyone?

As I say, I’m a big fan of the period here and adore the art direction. Whilst not an avid fan of DnD 5e, there’s enough in here to have tempted me to get on board. I’m sure that despite being rooted in the most current edition of the rules, there’ll be plenty of inspiration for those of a more Old School (OSR/BOSR) mentality.

Let me know what you think below or by joining in the discussion over on our Facebook page. If Twitter is more your thing, feel free to get me there @brother_rooster.

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